June 14th, 2023

Dog sleeping in the street

Hello All,

I am not really sure what day it is, but I do know that since Thursday the 9th I have been in Irpen, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Dnipro, Kherson, Mikolaiev and back to Irpen.

We answered up to a volunteer group chat call to bring supplies from Dnipro to the flooded city of Kherson. After driving from Donbas we met Anna, a teacher, and her young students at a school in Dnipro and we filled the van with clothes, shoes, water, dried food and hygiene gear. As is the usual in this country, the kids, aged between 10 and 16 were incredibly polite, helpful and outgoing.

They sent us off with waves and thank you’s and four hours later we entered Kherson. On the positive side, the highway from Mikolaiev is being repaired, and once crater sized potholes are being fixed and the road resurfaced. But that is where any hope of the rebuilding of formerly occupied Kherson ends.

The last time I was there was December of last year when we made multiple runs with warm weather gear and stoves because the Russians cut the power to try freeze Ukraine into submission during the winter. Now the streets are almost empty again. And the artillery is still constant as the Russians continue to terrorize the city and direct fire on the teams of evacuation boats on the river and in the flooded streets. The only life is volunteers, press, soldiers, abandoned dogs and cats, and several zombie like citizens wandering the streets in a daze. Many are drunk and some are laying on sidewalks and in the gutter, or sitting idly with their heads in their hands. It is truly a hellscape.

The water is slowly receding again and we found our way to the dropoff location near the river. This is one of many volunteer “hubs” or collection points where supplies are brought in, counted, sorted and then passed out to teams who distribute them throughout the impacted area. As we unloaded, we met Tony, an Australian, Lena and Oleg the coordinators, Andrei and his team of animal rescuers and a host of others from around the world. These places remind me of the bar scene in the original Star Wars, an eclectic mixture of unique and often odd people of different backgrounds who are here to help.

This hub is inside a Soviet era series of buildings that have been partially destroyed by artillery but sound enough to house volunteers, load and unload vehicles, and stage boats. There are numerous rooms where aid is stored and below ground is a kitchen, admin office and “dorms.” It is camouflaged by trees but there is no way the Russians don’t know about it. And the constant artillery around the city makes me wonder about the law of averages.

We met “Irish” a bearded 28 year old Arab kid from Sweden and I mentioned that we had aid bags for the military. He offered to bring us to a military team to drop some off and we met two Americans assigned to another assault team. They had a beautiful German Shepherd named Ice. Their missions include amphibious reconnaissance and assaults on Russian positions across the river. I was again struck by their youth.

After we returned to the hub, our attempts at reaching our several contacts here were unsuccessful and we had to get back to Kyiv to regroup as well as to meet and pick up Rob Rose a TV producer from the US who has a show called Raw Travel TV. The show highlights travels and stories around the world and focuses on the interconnectedness of humanity. Check it out.

Rob and I connected last year on Instagram through mutual friends and he arranged to come further east to continue filming for his series on Ukraine.

Today we are meeting Rob and his camerawoman Nastya and showing them the battle damage in Irpin, Bucha etc. as well as taking him to the orphanage we support here and hopefully getting some interviews in the area.

Information operations, discussions, emails, social media posts, are a critical part of the war effort here. Correct, vetted and corroborated primary source information is as important as food, ammo, clothing and shelter. The more people know and understand about this conflict, it’s history and the suffering and dedication of the Ukrainian people, the easier it is to rally continued support and destroy false narratives and propaganda.

Nazis, satanists, armies of gay AIDS infected soldiers, black Polish NATO mercenaries, genetically modified killer mosquitoes, secret pentagon biolabs, oppressed Russian speakers, false flag attacks and the historical false “brotherhood” of Russians and Ukrainians. These are just a small fraction of the conspiracies, Russian propaganda and nonsense being pushed by Russia and it’s supporters around the world and unfortunately by a huge percentage of members of a formerly respectable political party in the US. But I digress.

Tomorrow we will stock up again. And take Rob in a reverse loop to Odesa, Kherson, Dnipro, Kramatorsk Izium and Kharkiv. We will be delivering aid to IDP shelters in Odesa as well as Kherson and hopefully linking up with water deliveries in Kramatorsk. We have plenty of bug spray to deter the mosquito drone army of the International Monetary Fund.

3 people and a dog